Thursday, May 7, 2009

Worst Playoff Plus/Minus

Plus/Minus in the playoffs, not a stat we often think about, but still it’s still a fairly revealing number when looked at in depth. This year the worst rating is from Mike Commodore of Columbus with a -7 in 4 games. The single season worst playoff rating is -15 by Mike Rathje of San Jose in 1995, in fact the Sharks of that season produced five of the six worst single season +/- ratings in playoff history. That will be for another blog entry.

Luc Robitaille’s -13 in 1993 is quite strange seeing as the Kings went to the final that year and throughout the playoffs outscored their opponents 93-90. He was more than double his next worst team-mate Gary Shuchuk at -6 and only four other Kings ended up in the minus. That is a very hard-earned -13 for Lucky Luc.

The Winnipeg Jets are well represented with Tomas Steen’s -13 in 1985, Troy Murray’s
-10 in 1992 and Lucien DeBlois rating an amazing -10 in the three game sweep to the Oilers in 1984 in which Edmonton outscored the Jets 18-7 in the series. In 1985, after beating the Flames 3 games to 1 the Jets were once again swept by the Oilers, being outscored 22-11. Winnipeg’s nemesis in 1992 proved to be the Canucks as the Jets blew a 3-1 series lead being outscored 21-5 over the final three games.

Adam Graves and Mark Messier of the ’95 Rangers had -13 and -11 ratings respectively and the team as a whole was -51 over the ten games they played. This seems quite strange as New York scored 35 goals while giving up 36. The following year was more of the same as they scored 34 goals to 36 against yet the team somehow came out with a -42 rating over 11 games. Obviously, they lived and died by their powerplay as they tallied 25 PPG over the two playoff seasons out of their 69 total.

Ray Bourque seems out of place on the list of worst plus/minus with his -10 in 12 games even though the Bruins made it to the semi-finals against Pittsburgh. This last series is where Bourque incurred the most of his minus as the Pens outscored the B’s 19-7. This series was memorable for Mario Lemieux’s goal in which he turned Bourque around twice before scoring on a breakaway.

Now we’ll turn to the career worst playoff +/- and we see some of the same names as before.
Tomas Sandstrom tops (or bottoms) the list with a career -45 rating followed by Dino Ciccarelli at -37. Sandstrom, over 13 playoff seasons only once avoided a minus in 1991 when he was +1 over ten games. Ciccarelli would in all likelihood not be so low if plus/minus was an official stat before 1983/84. In 1981 he notched 21 points in 19 games and the North Stars outscored their opponents 84-73. The aforementioned Winnipeg Jets have both Tomas Steen and Paul MacLean on the career list with the least amount of games played. Bryan Trottier surprisingly checks in with a career playoff -19, again due to the stat becoming official after his Islanders glory years.

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